Monday, August 4, 2008

Complicit media in Global Warming-Climate Change Scam--Virgin Airways Case

August 3, 2008 By Stephen Price, the Sunday Business Post online, Irish Business News
In September 2006, Virgin boss Richard Branson pledged €1.9 billion towards tackling global warming. For the next ten years, he announced, the profits from his aviation and rail businesses would go towards combating the biggest, most complex problem that mankind has ever faced.
Adults, Branson solemnly told the assembled media, had a duty to pass a ‘‘pristine’’ planet on to the next generation. Politicians and campaigners were effusive in their praise for his imagination and generosity.

However, a look at the not-very-small print revealed that this amazing gesture would
  • not be a matter of taking the profits from Branson’s polluting industries and using
them to protect vast tracts of the Amazon.
  • In fact, the money would go to a new division of the Virgin conglomerate, called Virgin Fuel.
  • Branson was simply gearing himself up to make more money. But as always, the
  • PR spin was that he’d be doing the rest of us a favour in the process.
Branson has built an empire on this perception. His first two business ventures - both failed - were growing Christmas trees and selling budgerigars, so he obviously understood from an early stage that
  • nature is there to be exploited.
  • His reputation as a rebel underdog took off when he was arrested in 1971 for selling records in Virgin stores that had been declared export stock. Because he also sold ‘‘cut-outs’’ (remaindered LPs at discounted prices), the perception took root that he was being persecuted by the authorities for challenging a rip-off establishment. In fact, he was doing nothing of the sort - he paid the taxes and fines owing from the case.
Branson’s anti-establishment persona was cemented in 1977 when Virgin Records signed the Sex Pistols; the band had already been dropped by two labels, EMI and A&M. He was also on board the boat the band played on when they sailed down the Thames during Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee celebrations. In a blaze of publicity, it was pulled in by police and a few punters were arrested.
  • When British Airways engaged in a ‘‘dirty tricks’’ campaign against Virgin Atlantic in the early1990s,this was grist to Branson’s mill. Whether it’s flights, records, mobile phones, cola, radio, television, hotels, trains or holidays, sticking the word ‘‘Virgin’’ in front of something supposedly makes it cheaper yet cooler, with the bearded, grinning boss fronting many of his own ad campaigns. Because if a hippy says it’s all right, then it must be. Mustn’t it?
Since Virgin Fuel was set up in 2006, the tide has very much turned against bio-fuels with the realisation that far too much agricultural land could be eaten up by fuel crops. Palm oil, one of the major biofuels, is contributing to global warming as virgin (no pun intended) rainforests in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia are decimated to make way for palm plantations.
  • Still, in February of this year Branson was on the tarmac toying with a coconut for the inevitable photocall when one of his 747s flew - empty- from London to Amsterdam on a 20 per cent bio-fuel mixture. Two years on from his ‘‘profits’’ gesture, slightly wiser green campaigners dismissed the flight as a stunt.
But onwards and upwards. While Branson has done little to save the planet and a hell of a lot to pollute it, he can arrange for you to look down upon it. This week he unveiled an aircraft for flying tourists into space. Virgin Galactic (yes, space can be branded too) has built a four-engine, twin-fuselage jet that will carrya spaceship with six passengers up to 50,000 feet to release it for sub-orbital flight.
  • The actual space ship is not yet complete, but apparently2 50 punters have already paid $200,000 up front for the experience, among them Ireland’s own leading car salesman, Bill Cullen. The plane is called White Knight II, lest we forget what a favour Branson is doing for us.
Hippies are often credited with being the first to bring green issues to the fore, but the 1960s also legitimised the ascent of personal selfishness over social responsibility. Of course, Branson is no more of a hippy than I am, just a good businessman.

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